Hachiya Makoto (Japan): “Thus Was a Champion Forged”

Hachiya Makoto from Japan, champion of the 3rd “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for International Students Studying in China: “My way of learning Chinese is – singing Chinese songs. Back in my home in Japan we can watch Chinese satellite TV programs, and I have been watching Chinese talent shows and TV dramas and listening to Chinese pop songs since I was a child”.

Hachiya Makoto

Early last year when American Matthew Frigon, attended the Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland for the first time, he fell in love with the Chinese language. Now, he is studying it in China. He wrote the following letter in Chinese to the director of the Confucius Institute, Cui Jianxin, to express his gratitude. 

Hachiya Makoto, Japan

I am Hachiya Makoto from Japan. Yes, I am the champion of the 3rd “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for International Students Studying in China. Many people may wonder how it is that Hachiya Makoto speaks Chinese so well. My answer: my way of learning Chinese is – singing Chinese songs. Back in my home in Japan we can watch Chinese satellite TV programs, and I have been watching Chinese talent shows and TV dramas and listening to Chinese pop songs since I was a child. Every time I came to China, I’d buy lots of CDs and DVDs, which I’d use for practicing Chinese songs in Japan. As I sang, my Chinese improved without my even noticing it. 

Hachiya Makoto

The song that I sang in this competition was Spring of the Northland, which my mother often sang to me when I was a child. She told me that this song was liked by Japanese and popular in China, where many could sing it. So, every time I heard this song, I’d think of China. This time, when I sang this song wearing a kimono on the stage of the Chinese Proficiency Competition for International Students Studying in China, the Chinese audience one after another joined in the singing clapping their hands to the rhythm of the song. is made me very excited and happy. I truly want to become an ambassador of friendship between China and Japan.

Looking back on my way to championship, I see not only the encouragement and help from teachers but also a lot of hard work on my part. The last month before the competition saw me working hammer and tongs to prepare. Every day, I used all the time that I’d otherwise have been spent watching TV and surfing the Internet to study. With a computer, a lamp, and a couple of books, I diligently practiced listening, speaking, reading and writing, and wouldn’t go to bed until very late into the night. After the competition started, my life got even busier. During the competition, I shared my room with a contestant from Tajikistan. In order to do our best at the competition, every day he and I stayed up very late, rehearsing our performances to each other and exchanging suggestions for improvement. Sometimes, when he had gone to bed earlier than I, I had to do my writing and reciting sitting on the toilet seat. During that whole time, I could only manage to have an average of 3 – 4 hours of sleep daily. It was truly hammer and tongs.

“I got very nervous as each round of the competition approached. It was good that the “Chinese Bridge” was also a bridge of friendship, for the contestants regarded one another as not just opponents but also friends”

It’s not easy being a champion. In fact, I got very nervous as each round of the competition approached. It was good that the “Chinese Bridge” was also a bridge of friendship, for the contestants regarded one another as not just opponents but also friends. Every day I ate, chatted and watched TV with fellow contestants from different countries. We got along very well. Sometimes, when the taping of the program took us late into the night, we would go out together to grab some food. Now the competition is over, but we are still in contact. We will remain good friends for life.

It was a tough competition, but thanks to my good effort, I came out the champion. All the hard work was worthwhile. The competition deepened my interest in China and the Chinese language. The friendships I forged with other lovers of Chinese from all over the world will become a lifetime asset. I want to thank all who have given me support. China, I love you!


Confucius Institute Magazine 11

pdfPublished in Confucius Institute Magazine
Number 11. Volume VI. November 2010.
View/Download the print issue in PDF

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